The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Building on the Shale Revolution

Jack Gerard

Jack Gerard
Posted October 4, 2011

It's hard to overstate the impact of the shale energy revolution in this country, spurred by fracturing technology and innovations in horizontal drilling. It's a revolution marked by dynamic economic growth, job creation and, of course the energy to drive our country's future.

The evidence is apparent. In Pennsylvania alone, development of the Marcellus shale created 72,000 new jobs from late 2009 to early 2011. We're seeing similar results in other states as well.

Yet, no revolution occurs in a vacuum. Unlocking this game-changing energy has raised some legitimate questions, especially in local communities -- questions about safety, environmental protection and every-day concerns about traffic, noise, housing and more. Our industry has heard these concerns and is responding. This revolution is important and exhilarating, but we must get it right.

That's why API's "Commitment to Excellence in Hydraulic Fracturing" workshop in Pittsburgh this week is so important. Discussion will center on API's standards and industry practices that are already being used to drive performance. We've built on existing expertise to develop a set of five standards that specifically address hydraulic fracturing issues -- from well construction and water management to surface impacts and environmental protection. We even provide guidance for a company to consider on how to be a "good neighbor."

In addition we're reaching out to the regulators in shale states, sharing knowledge that will help them help us raise the bar on performance. We've provided briefings to state officials in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio, and more are scheduled. The fact is the states are doing an effective, credible job of regulating energy development.

Together, industry, states and communities can build on an existing partnership to see hydraulic fracturing and the development of shale energy change America's energy landscape for the better -- creating jobs, generating revenue and enhancing our energy security.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jack N. Gerard is president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), the national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry. He also has served as the president and CEO of trade associations representing the chemical and mining industries. Jack understands how Washington works. He spent several years working in the U.S. Senate and House, and co-founded a Washington-based government relations consulting firm. A native of Idaho, Jack also is very active in the Boy Scouts of America, a university graduate program on politics, and his church’s leadership. He and his wife are the proud parents of eight children, including twin boys adopted from Guatemala.